NEW YORK, March 9 (UPI) -- Liam Neeson, who has friends in the industry, has taken up the cause of New York City's horse-drawn carriages, after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to ban the practice. The 61-year-old actor led city councilors and labor leaders on a tour of Clinton Park Stables in Manhattan on Sunday, hoping to convince politicians and the public that horses are treated humanely.
It was there that he criticized de Blasio for skipping the tour.
“He should have manned up and come," Neeson said of the new mayor. "I'm disappointed he's not here."
De Blasio said at another event on Sunday that he still wants to end the tourist attraction, but said he would help carriage drivers find new work.
"That being said, the reason I want to visit the stables and will do it when the schedule allows is because we want to work with the folks who operate those horse carriages and get them new opportunities in other types of related work."
During his campaign, de Blasio received support from New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, a group that wants to replace the horse-drawn carriages with electric horseless carriages.
Neeson and industry members have argued that horses are treated humanely and have become an indelible part of the New York experience.
"It's a connection with our past, it's a connection with our history," Neeson said Sunday. "And it has to be said -- the great white elephant in the room -- four prime locations on the West Side of New York that realtors must be salivating to get their hands on."